According to data compiled by Climate Central, winters in the northeastern United States have warmed significantly since 1970, an organization of scientists and journalists who research and report on climate. The experts explained what this could lead to.
Where did it get warmest?
The experts found that the winter is not only warmer than it was 50 years ago. The very process of temperature rise is accelerating every year more and more. Changes occur most rapidly in winter – much more actively than at any other time of the year. In the United States, a similar phenomenon is observed in 38 states. Most of them are located in the northeast of the country.
During the 1969-1970 winter in Philadelphia, the average winter temperature was -1°C. However, in 2019, the average was + 4.4°C.
In which states are the changes most noticeable?
- In Philadelphia, the average winter temperature has risen by nearly 4.8 ° C since 1970, and the number of abnormally warm days has risen to 19.
- In Atlantic City, New Jersey, winters warmed 4.3 ° C with 14 days warmer than normal.
- Allentown, Pennsylvania, warmed by 3.8 ° C, and 14 days were warmer than usual.
What data was used?
For the study, Climate Central experts used data from 242 US weather stations.
Scientists calculated the average temperatures and days above normal in December, January, and February 1969-1970 and compared the same months up to 2019-2020. Overall, average winter temperatures rose the most in the Great Lakes and Northeast regions, as did the number of days with temperatures above normal.
Sean Sublett, a meteorologist at Climate Central, said 50 years of data proves that the process of global warming and climate change has started, and for a long time. And this is not just about the United States. The expert notes that 150 years ago, the minimum winter temperatures in the entire northern part of the planet also increased. However, this did not happen at such a speed. Temperature readings are now growing exponentially.
The sun is now in the less active part of its normal cycle. Lower temperatures are also observed during these periods. However, according to Sublett, temperatures are still rising, and scientists attribute this to climate change.
Consequences of rising temperatures in winter
Temperature changes have a serious impact on agriculture, the scientist notes. For example, fruit trees need to cool off in winter and bloom in time. Disruption of their life cycle can lead to disaster. Warmer winters are dangerous for all plants in general. They bloom prematurely in warm February and then freeze in early March. Besides, sometimes warming causes heavy snowfalls that lead to avalanches.